Reading Recommendations: The American Heiress, a novel, Daisy Goodwin"Cora knew that it was her money that produced that little pocket of hush which preceded her whenever she walked into a strange room. It was her money that triggered all those sideways covert glances, the conversations that faltered when she approached. No one was unaffected by the money–"It was 1893, in Newport, Rhode Island, and no detail of Cora Cash's lavish masquerade ball has been left to chance. Beautiful, spirited, and the richest heiress of her generation, Cora is the closest thing that American society has to a princess. Her debut is the carefully orchestrated prelude to a campaign in which her mother whisk her to Europe, where Mrs. Cash wants to acquire the one thing that money can't buy for her daughter in the state: a title.Be careful what you wish for. Cora makes a dazzling impression on English society, followed by a brilliant match, but finds that the chill in the air of magnificent ancestral homes comes from more than the lack of central heating. As she gradually learns that old world aristocrats are governed by obscure codes of conduct and loyalty that can betray even the most charming, accomplished outsider, Cora must grow from a spoiled young rich girl into a woman of substance.Sparkling with wit and intelligence, The American Heiress marks the debut of a glorious storyteller who brings a fresh new spirit to the tradition of Edith Wharton and Jane Austen.And, Next to Love, a novel, Ellen FeldmanA story of love, war, loss, and the scars they leave. Next to Love follows the lives of three young women and their men during the years of World War II and its aftermath, beginning with the men going off to war and ending a generation later, when their children are on the cusp of their own adulthood.Set in a small town in Massachusetts, the novel follows three childhood friends, Babe, Millie, and Grace, whose lives are unmoored when their men are called to duty. And yet the changes that are thrust upon them move them in directions they never dreamed possible when their husbands and boyfriends are enduring their own transformations. In the decades that follow, the three friends lose their innocence, struggle to raise their children, and find meaning and love in unexpected places. And as they change, so does America from a country in which people know their place in the social hierarchy to a world in which women's rights, the civil rights movement, and technological innovations present new possibilities and uncertainties. And yet Babe, Millie, and Grace remain bonded by their past, even as their children grow up and away and a new society rises from the ashes of war.Beautifully crafted and unforgettable, Next to Love depicts the enduring power of love and friendship, and illuminates a transformational moment in American history.And, David Crockett, The Lion of the West, Michael WallisHis name was David Crockett. He never signed his name any other way, but popular culture transformed his memory into Davy Crockett, while Hollywood gave him a coonskin cap that he hardly ever wore. So wildly popular was this colorful outdoorsman turned politician that he became a legendary figure even in his own time.Born into a poor family in 1786 on the eastern Tennessee frontier, Crockett had a Huck Finn-like childhood that could have been something out of the dime store novels his legend later spawned. As befits his myth, Crockett did indeed display a preternatural talent for hunting, but he never "killed him a b'ar" when he was only three, as one ditty proclaims. While Crockett's boyhood exploits are truly remarkable, even by frontier standards, it was his parents' dire financial circumstances that instilled in him an outsiders sensibility.So extraordinary were Crockett's exploits, so remarkable his storytelling gifts, that he distinguished himself first as a wildly popular soldier and then a budding politician. Going on to Congress in 1826, he achieved great prominence, yet Crockett was too much for Washington to handle. Eventually breaking with Andrew Jackson and his Indian policies, as famous as Crockett became, his career soon faded as his folksy charm was no match for Jackson's venom.No part of Crockett's life remains as controversial as his death in Texas in 1836, where he had migrated, hoping to build a new life. Wallis, using recently discovered sources, conclusively demonstrates that Crockett neither surrendered to the Mexicans nor was taken hostage in the battle at the Alamo.An absorbing biography distilling fact from fiction and standing alone as a vivid evocation of a true American hero and the rough and tumble times in which he lived.See you at Rylander!